Witness testifies during Saddam's genocide trial | india | Hindustan Times
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Witness testifies during Saddam's genocide trial

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 23:30 IST

A Dutchman testified on Monday during Saddam Hussein's genocide trial that he temporarily lost his eyesight as a result of an alleged chemical attack by Iraqi forces on his northern village nearly two decades ago.

But Saddam shot back at the witness, declaring he wasn't an Iraqi under law and questioned if his testimony counted.

Witness Karawan Abdellah said he continues to live in "pain and suffering" after sustaining an eye injury in March 1988 when Iraqi warplanes bombed the positions of Kurdish guerrillas, known as peshmerga, in the Shanakhesiya village. He said he lost three friends in the attack.

Following the initial air strike, Iraqi forces gassed inhabitants in the area.

"I stayed in a hospital for six months and during this period I wasn't able to see at all," said Abdellah, a former Kurdish guerrilla, wearing dark glasses and a Western-style navy blue suit as he sat in the witness stand.

"When I take off my glasses in front of my children, they tell me to wear them again because they get scared of the way my eyes look," he said about his current condition.

He then took off his glasses, saying, "I want the cameras to show my eyes," which looked slightly swollen, with grayish pupils.

Abdellah testified that as he walked toward a nearby peshmerga headquarters after the 1988 attack, he said he saw "bodies of dead women, children and elderly men.